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Another shock to the system. October 18, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. And no, I wasn’t watching Emeril. I was sitting here at my computer, writing a blog post about cobbler, when something hit the window next to me with the force of a fastball.

AAAHHHHHH!!!! There went the sixth of my nine lives.

Whirling around, all I saw was a little snowdrift of feathers floating down from the screen. Stumbling to the window, I saw Hawk’s Haven’s resident Cooper’s hawk, who’d apparently just pursued a hapless songbird to its doom. The poor little bird must have flown into the window in its attempt to escape, or else the hawk caught it and was unable to slow its flight before crashing into the window itself. (Hawks strike claws-first from the air, so they need to work up a fair amount of speed to stun their target when they strike.)

The Cooper’s hawk stood on its prey for several minutes, occasionally shifting position slightly, looking down as if to check on it from time to time but making no attempt to start eating. I’m not sure if this is typical—if the hawks wait until they’re sure the prey is dead, and thus unable to escape at the last moment—or if our particular hawk was just stunned from its encounter with the window screen, or was even concerned that I might rush through the wall and deprive it of its lunch. In that case, however, hawks typically “mantle” their prey, covering it with spread wings to keep other predators away, and the Cooper’s hawk wasn’t doing that.

Eventually, the hawk seemed to decide that the little bird was dead, or at least comatose, and took to the air with the poor soul hanging limp in its claws, doubtless heading back to its nest or to a convenient branch where it could enjoy its meal unobserved in a leisurely fashion. I returned to my desk and decided to save cobblers for tomorrow and post about the drama I’d just witnessed instead.

Here at Hawk’s Haven, we love our songbirds. But we also love our hawks. I feel sad that there’s one less delightful little songbird to brighten my days. But I feel privileged that a hawk has chosen to make its home with us. Now, if I could just persuade it to do its hunting farther afield. After all, I’m down to just three lives.

              ‘Til next time,